Posts Tagged 'DMA'

Museum Menagerie

Over the years, a variety of animals have visited the DMA, so, to continue the animals-in-the-archives-themed posts, here are a few of the wildest critters that have been seen around the Museum.

A young elephant named Baby Star made an appearance on Ross Avenue Plaza in the fall of 1984. Unfortunately, the reason for the visit is unknown.

A cougar was spotted in the Museum’s Ceremonial Court in 1990. The cat was here to film a commercial.

A snake attended Nancy Hamon’s Masquerade Ball on May 23, 1997. No costume was required.

This adorable African penguin from the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventure Program was a guest at the November 19, 2010, Late Night, to the delight of many.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Edward Steichen and His Seven Rare Mural Paintings: A History of “In Exaltation of Flowers”

Seven murals painted by Edward Steichen are undergoing conservation treatment this summer in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery. After treatment is completed, the rare and exquisite murals will be on view September 5, 2017, through May 28, 2018, as part of the exhibition Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers (1910-1914), overseen by the Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA, Sue Canterbury.

Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy being unrolled from a travel tube

Edward Steichen, born Eduard Jean Steichen in 1879, was an American artist who was both a painter and photographer during his lifetime. Most of his paintings and photographs were produced for the American art market while he was living in the United States or France. He stayed in Paris for about a year in 1901 and then returned to Paris a second time in 1906; it was then that he joined the New Society of American Artists. One of his friends in Paris was an American student at the Sorbonne named Agnes Ernst, and she later played a large role in Steichen’s commission for In Exaltation of Flowers. In 1908, Steichen moved from Paris to his villa, L’Oiseu Bleu, in Voulangis, France. There, he cultivated a garden and built a small studio with a skylight.

In 1910 Agnes Ernst married Eugene Meyer and the couple traveled to L’Oiseu Bleu during their honeymoon. The three friends likely discussed the commission for In Exaltation of Flowers during that visit. This commission would include seven 10-foot-tall murals designed for a foyer in the Meyers’ new townhouse at 71st Street and Park Avenue, which the Meyers acquired in 1911. The commission was $15,000 and these artworks became Steichen’s most ambitious undertaking.

As Steichen worked on the Meyers’ commission from 1910 to 1914, many of their American friends visited Voulangis, including Arthur Carles, Mercedes de Cordoba, Katharine Rhoades , Marion Beckett, and Isadora Duncan. Some of these visitors identified with specific floral personifications, which became incorporated into Steichen’s tempera and gold leaf compositions. The In Exaltation of Flowers series consists of the following seven panels:

    1. Gloxinia – Delphinium: a kneeling woman (likely Isadora Duncan) with Gloxinia, Delphinium, and Caladium flowers
    2. Clivia – Fuchsia – Hilium – Henryi: one woman sitting (possibly Isadora Duncan or Marion Beckett) and another woman standing (likely Katharine Rhoades) with Clivia, Fuchsia, and Henry Lily flowers
    3. Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy: Florence Meyer (first child of Eugene and Agnes Meyer) with a butterfly and poppies
    4. Petunia – Begonia – The Freer Bronze: a Zhou Dynasty bronze (symbolizing Charles Lang Freer, a collector of Asian art and benefactor of the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC) with Petunia and Begonia flowers
    5. Rose – Geranium: Katharine Rhoades with a fruit-bearing tree, roses, and geraniums
    6. Petunia – Caladium – Budleya: two standing women (Marion Beckett and an unidentified woman in the background), with Petunia, Iris, Caladium, and Budleya (other spelling variants include Buddleia and Buddleja) flowers
    7. Golden Banded Lily – Violets: a standing woman (likely Agnes Meyer) with Golden Banded Lily and Violet (also identified as Begonia rex) flowers

Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery

Even before receiving the Meyers’ commission, Steichen had been painting and photographing women and flowers; however, his depiction of the subject matter and use of gold leaf in In Exaltation of Flowers alludes to influences from French couture designer Paul Poiret and Art Nouveau painters Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Pierre Bonnard, and Maurice Denis.

All seven murals in In Exaltation of Flowers were completed by 1914. Even though they had originally been commissioned for the townhouse on 71st Street and Park Avenue, the paintings were never displayed in that building. Due to financial hardship, the Meyers had to sell their townhouse earlier in 1914, and Steichen’s intended sequence for the murals remains unknown today. The order listed above is based on a 1915 checklist from their presentation at the Knoedler Galleries in New York. Two of the murals were later displayed at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1921 and 1996, and at least one mural was displayed at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 1988. The DMA’s presentation this fall of the murals, which are part of a private collection, will mark the first time the seven panels have been exhibited together since their debut at the Knoedler Galleries 102 years ago.

Rose – Geranium in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery

References
Murphy, Jessica. Portraiture and Feminine Identity in the Stieglitz Circle: Agnes Ernst Meyer, Katharine Rhoades, and Marion Beckett. Dissertation. University of Delaware, 2009.
Goley, Mary Anne and Barbara Ann Boese Wolanin. From Tonalism to Modernism: The Paintings of Eduard J. Steichen, October 4–December 9, 1988.  Washington, DC: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1988.
Haskell, Barbara. Edward Steichen. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2000.
Pusey, Merlo J.  Eugene Meyer.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.

Keara Teeter is a Conservation Intern at the DMA.

 

Feline Mastermind

It’s undeniable that fuzzy four-legged felines are an internet sensation. Their mischievous whiskers and silly antics have all the making of a viral video. Cats are so trendy that there is an entire month dedicated to adopting them. Much like the social media moguls, clothing, and cosmetics brands that have jumped on the kitty bandwagon, American artist Thomas Sully was in the know. The 1830s and 40s were not without financial crises, and less money meant less desire for portraiture. Sully, who was highly regarded for his artistic talents, should be equally regarded for his keen marketing and forecasting abilities. He began making “fancy pictures” that flawlessly idealized and exaggerated fashionable society, appealing to those with means. He also recognized the popularity of Cinderella, a tale that had entered America only a few decades before; an opera based on the story had taken the US by storm, putting it at the forefront of respectable society’s polite conversations. It only took Sully around three months to complete Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, which features not only a popular subject but also a cat! Talk about a win-win situation! Sully was in tune with the world around him and knew what people wanted, over a century ago and today, and so he flourished during times of financial hardship. Celebrate Thomas Sully’s birthday and National Adopt a Cat Month by visiting this pristine picture of furry fairytale marketing genius this week at the DMA.

 

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

Artist Interview: Christopher Blay

This spring in the Center for Creative Connections, we invited C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay to work with us on a new design for our in-gallery activities. We hope you agree that our time was very well spent. Meet Christopher here and learn more about these imaginative and reflective activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself in 50 words or less.
I am an artist, and I curate exhibitions at Tarrant County College. I also review art locally. I enjoy the process of making, and create installations that reflect a sense of place. I see value in art that meets both the artist and their audience where they live.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
I thought it would be an interesting way to share my ideas with audiences, outside of a curated exhibition. This was about creating a space for reflection, and saying the things left unsaid, in that moment of reflection.

Tell us about the activities you’ve created in C3.
I created three rounds of participatory activities under the project name Machines for Intangible Communications for the Visiting Artist Project (sketches above). They all revolved around the idea that some of the things we want to say can no longer be heard by the people we hope are listening. Part A presented visitors with a desk, a typewriter, some writing materials, and a mailbox. Part B had walkie-talkies and satellites to relay what was spoken. Part C is a phone booth and a Morse code machine for dialing and relaying messages into the void. In each iteration of this project, visitors could reach out and say the things they wish they’d said to themselves, or others. It was a way of expressing the thoughts and words we’ve always wanted to express.

Do you have any favorite visitor responses you’d like to share?
I do. There was a man from Turkey who lost his grandfather when he was about a year old. He told me that it was difficult to speak into the walkie-talkie because he was suddenly at a loss for words; however, when he did speak, he thanked his grandfather for the gift of life, and wished that he was present to see his current life. It was a beautiful moment that I was happy to share with a stranger.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
I enjoyed being able to make a gesture in a space for art that reflected real experiences. I was inspired to build these machines out of a sense of longing and personal loss, and from stories about loss. This is a human experience and one that I hope connects with visitors. I wanted to build an impossible bridge that maybe a whisper could cross.

Visitor responses from Machines for Intangible Communications Part A.

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Join C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay for the Teen Workshop Revolutionary Prints on Saturday, June 24, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The workshop is for ages 13-19; all materials are provided, and no prior experience is necessary. The cost is $8 for the public and $5 for DMA Members.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Last Friday, with storms lending the appropriate atmosphere, over 650 super sleuths helped us solve the unfortunate murder of Marcus Aurelius during our annual Museum Murder Mystery Game.

With their great detective work, we found out that it was Mademoiselle d’Orleans with the candelabrum of nine lights in the Ancient Art of the Americas galleries.

We documented the night’s events to make sure there was no cry of foul play:

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services

Cats in the Archives

An exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art about cats in their collections inspired me to go searching for cats in the DMA Archives collections. Here is what I found.

Painter, printmaker, and DMFA Museum School instructor Lucille Jeffries with an unidentified cat. Barbara Maples Papers, Photographs, DMA Archives

Sculptor James Surls plays with a black cat under his sculpture while a second cat looks on. Exhibition Photography, Visions: James Surls, 1974-1984, December 2, 1984-January 13, 1985, Artist photographs, DMA Archives

Artist Brent Steen with his cat, photographed during artist studio visits in conjunction with the 2003 exhibition Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas. Exhibition Photography, Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas, February 23-May 11, 2003, Artists in studio, DMA Archives

Keep an eye out for dogs in the Archives in the future—and of course I’ve already done llamas. Enjoy!

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being

At Late Night this Friday journalist and author Susana Martínez Vidal will speak about her beautiful new book, Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, which looks at the iconic and carefully curated style of Frida Kahlo and the artist’s lasting influence in the worlds of fashion and art. Before her visit, I asked the author to share a few insights about this project.

Frida Kahlo Cover 3D crop

What inspired you to write a book about Frida Kahlo?

During the almost 18 years that I headed EllE Spain and attended international fashion shows, I saw Frida walk by on innumerable occasions, interpreted in diverse ways by the greatest designers in the world: Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Lacroix, Kenzo, all have paid homage to her.  Countless times I witnessed her influence in music, film, and in the best international fashion magazines.  The most famous actresses, models, and singers have evoked her: Monica Belluci, Naomi Cambell, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Beyoncé, Madonna, Patti Smith, Cold Play.

In 1993 Frida Kahlo inspired the first fashion shoot I published as the director of EllE.  Through the eye of Canadian photographer Michel Pérez, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, the exotic beauty for “The Mummy” saga (who along with Frida shares indigenous heritage), was transformed in an Aztec princess. Years later, I was impacted by the spring collection of the great Jean Paul Gaultier, the first of the major designers to evoke her.

It powerfully attracted my attention that a woman who was half indigenous and was not from a first world country nor from show business (she wasn’t an actress, singer, or dancer) had gatecrashed into ranking among the most iconic women of the 20th century, next to Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy or Maria Callas.

In 2012, shortly after relocating to live in Mexico, the Huffington Post asked me to write a blog about the exposition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing that had recently opened.  Seeing this fantastic showcase in the Casa Azul Museum, I started to remember all the images of Frida from the runways and decided that the subject deserved to be explored more profoundly.  At the end of the article I expressed my desire that one day a book would speak to the influence of Frida Kahlo on fashion.  It was a challenge I gave myself to dare myself to take the step.  For months the article was one of the most read on Huffington Post, and this convinced me that Frida lived even though she had died more that half a century prior.   Frida Kahlo: Fashion As the Art of Being is the realization of that dream.

Frida Book 2 crop

In your opinion, what is the biggest lesson Frida taught us about fashion, art, or life?

Her determination to transform pain into beauty, while being an imperfect beauty, motivated her to build an image that she cared for and cultivated in order to elevate her self-esteem. She used fashion like therapy, emphasizing her defects to develop her own hallmark image and identity. The more pain she was in, the greater she made herself up. At the end of her life she dressed as if going to a party.

Her fans applaud her paintings because they admire her story, and therefore you cannot separate her life from her work. Like Stephen W. Hawking, she is someone who knew how to transform her limitations into opportunities. In both situations, their disabilities have transformed in aids that encourage them to focus on there abilities. Certainly, she was her finest work of art.

Frida in Gallery 01

Do you see the fashion world’s appropriation of her style as honoring her, exoticizing her–both?

Perhaps both: Fashion has resurrected Mrs. Kahlo, to give her the glory she didn´t have during her life.

Since the beginning, the idea of the book has been to show the influence of Frida Kahlo in contemporary fashion and pop culture and why she continues to appear so modern in the 21st century.

My objective has been to unravel fashion’s constant obsession with Frida Kahlo, despite being a field which by definition is always in constant motion, and decipher why it is that her style continues to provoke an irrepressible appeal the world over.

Frida in Gallery 02

Join Susana Martínez Vidal this Friday for talks in both English and Spanish and pick up a copy of Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, available for purchase in the DMA store.

And let Frida inspire your own fashion – come dressed like Frida Kahlo on May 19 and your Late Night ticket will be $5.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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